Okay, is it weird that I'm switching gears back and forth from food to caterpillars? Don't confuse!
A lot has happened in the life of my caterpillars. I will post some photos (per my sister's request) but not put all of them right in the entry since they're not all very pleasant. You'll have the option of clicking the link at your own risk. Maybe I'm the only one who doesn't want to see tons of caterpillar "waste"?
First off, I wanted to talk about how fascinating this whole process is. I really didn't know much before this experience. In fact, I thought caterpillars "built" their chrysalis/cocoon around themselves, but after research I realized it's not like that at all! It's just one more layer down below their skin, which they shed several times in their lives. All of my research had me disturbed, amazed, curious and thinking about this process for much of the past few days. Here is a good little summary of the process, if you want to read it.
It also had me reflecting on God's amazing creations and how he really outdid himself coming up with all these wild inventions that we have grown accustomed to (or even annoyed with) and often don't give much thought. There are similarities among most things--a growth/change process, for instance--and yet they/we are all so different, too. It's just crazy to me that there is a bug that goes from a caterpillar to a completely different-looking bug all in certain timing. And why? Why aren't they born butterflies? Why didn't God create two separate things: caterpillars and butterflies? Instead, it's one that has two phases. It's cliche to notice the Christian symbolism, but how can you not?
Okay, on with actual updates. You'll remember that the caterpillars arrived on Monday (7/12/10) looking like this.
Then three days later (7/15/10) I came home from work and saw they had grown a lot just in that day. They must have shed their skin again (they do that four times as caterpillars). I took a few photos, though I'm not sure if you can really tell the difference as well as I could that day. Picture 1, Picture 2.
(Sorry I wasn't consistent with the photo locations, and the quality on these isn't the greatest either.)
Then I went through my disturbed and disgusted research phase. I was getting impatient for them to stop wandering around in their filth, because yesterday the cup looked like this. Yes, gross. I was wondering if I'd ever want to do this project again (you can order other types of butterflies).
Finally, last night they were crawling on the lid a lot more, and I hoped that meant they were about to hang themselves up and chill through the next stage. Eventually the first one went into his little "J shape" form, and this had me very glad. I didn't actually see it happen, but I knew he was kind of slowing down.
Then, before I went to sleep, two others had joined him. The other two were being kind of disruptive and sometimes one of the three Js would twitch with what I decided was annoyance. Oh, don't mind the t-shirt in the photo.. I was suddenly worried they might get cold and thought I'd shield them. I know, kind of dorky. I didn't want to move the cup because they seem so fragile right now.. I don't want any to fall! (I'm sure they're much more stable than I think, otherwise we wouldn't have butterflies in this world. :P)
This morning I was glad to see that all five had successfully gone into their J-mode (an awesome letter, by the way! Thanks, God!) and they are resting peacefully. I'll post a thumbnail here. Click it for a larger version:
I guess I should've turned the cup around so they'd actually be Js instead of curvy Ls. :)
I have tried to find out how long it takes before they shed their skin again and become a chrysalis, but nothing has been specific. I don't know if I'll even witness that changeover, but obviously I will try!
Sorry for such a long update. I should've written something sooner so I didn't have to cover so much in this post.